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D.J. Swearinger's Dropoff Hard To See Coming

Veteran safety's second stint with the Cardinals did not go well

S D.J. Swearinger misses a tackle on Seahawks RB Chris Carson on Sunday.
S D.J. Swearinger misses a tackle on Seahawks RB Chris Carson on Sunday.

When the Cardinals claimed D.J. Swearinger late last season from the Redskins, the risk seemed to come off the field, not on it.

While the veteran safety had gotten in hot water over the years for his personality, from 2016 through 2018, he was one of the better safeties in the NFL. Cardinals fans still remember both the physicality and surprisingly-good coverage skills he brought to the table for that 2016 team, and at age 28, seemed to be right in the midst of his athletic prime entering this year.

For whatever reason, that player never showed up in his second stint with the team. Swearinger played in four games with the Cardinals and finished with a Pro Football Focus grade of 45.1, which was the worst among the team's starters.

He had a coverage grade of 36.5, allowing 11-of-15 passes to be completed for 153 yards, three touchdowns and an opposing passer rating of 145.3. He also had a notable missed tackle on Seattle running back Chris Carson late in Sunday's loss.

The Cardinals are taking a risk by swapping out a veteran for a younger replacement, but the production simply wasn't there from Swearinger in 2019.

D.J. Swearinger's Pro Football Focus Grades Since 2016

Table inside Article
2019 45.1 69.0 36.5
2018 79.8 65.9 79.5
2017 73.6 82.6 70.4
2016 83.0 72.9 82.8